Killing Them Softly (2012) : One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure

The plot of Killing Them Softly is undeniably forgettable, a plot that has been recycled in the crime and gangster genre ever since its conception, showcased in early films such as The Public Enemy (1931) all the way up to Goodfellas (1990). However, flashes of brilliance throughout the film allow it to become enduring and an excellent example of contemporary cult cinema. The scene of Markie’s death is grotesquely beautiful, it focuses on violence in a vulgar and graphic way, yet juxtaposes this with beautiful slow-motion cinematography, including close-ups of a gun firing and blood spurting from the back of Ray Liotta’s head. Director Andrew Dominik, cinematographer Greig Fraser and editors John Paul Horstmann and Brian A.Kates have done a superb job in creating such a striking and exquisite representation of violence on screen, in a genre where originality is difficult to come by. This scene in particular highlights just how these key, surprisingly elegant, moments can turn what would otherwise be a mainstream crime thriller into a cult work of art that should be held as a template to future directors within this genre.


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